Journal of Soul

The purpose of this exhibit is to explore how the souls relate to other objects. In the long history, people – especially the scholars like Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, and Mary Wollstonecraft – have spent a lot of time for chasing the right things – or “the right things” they thought – for their souls. It is interesting to spend some time to see how people make their souls connect to their mental thoughts, thesis, and works; also, how do they develop gradually. This exhibit shows several pieces which relate to souls and other objects through actual visual arts.

In this piece, I see the railway and a hard and desert city. Absolutely, there are not any people in this piece, even not an animal, which matches the theme “Soulless”. In a deeper level, the yellowish color in this piece makes people feel hopeless, and I think this is another reason why it is named as “Soulless”. This piece would likely relate to Plato, in “The Republic”, Socrates mentions “the superhuman and divine is absolutely incapable of falsehood”. Also, the analogy of city and soul is mentioned as well. Through analyzing the city’s components, in both reality and abstraction, we have much better understanding about the souls – the smallest component of a city.
I see beautiful landscape in this piece. Mountains, river, trees, fields, and thatched houses in this piece make a harmonious piece. Beneath these, the most I see is the peace. There is no war, no disaster, and no fight. Instead, it is very peaceful from not only the surface of the piece, but also the bottom of the heart. This makes me think about the Plato’s The Republic. “I must judge them in the order in which they enter, by the criterion of virtue and vice, happiness and misery.” (Book IX) I really think the happiness is made by yourself. Being good, and following the virtue, we will find the peace from mind as well as our souls.
I see bright, simple, and peaceful views in this piece. The painter uses lightful color to show the simple and easy scenes in our daily life. The piece is kind of abstract which does not show completely full image. However, it makes the piece become more attractive and make me feel relax and comfortable. This relates to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality. In this book, he mentions that “most of our ills are of our own making, and that we might have avoided them all by adhering to the simple, uniform and solitary way of life prescribed to us by nature.” (Part One) I agree this strongly. The pains are made by ourselves. If people are willing to do something, they have to accept any consequences. Otherwise, we should live in a simple way to avoid suffer the pains.
I see two chairs in this piece. There is not any person in it, but just two empty chairs face to the sea. The chairs are really old which I believe they had a long history. The grayish color in this piece brings sad, sorrow, and memorable emotions. I think these two chairs may belong to two elder people. One of them maybe already passed away. Only the two chairs can prove their existence. This relates to Rousseau’s idea when he said “The first sentiment of man was that of his existence, his first care that of preserving it” in the Second Part of Discourse on Inequality. Life is like a cycle. People always chase something which can prove their existence. When people were just born, they cry to prove their existence. And when people passed away, they leave something—their stuff, habits, and even their smelling to show they used to exist in this world. This piece is about souls and existence.
I see several kids in a cloakroom in this piece. They are putting on their clothes with the help of nurses. From the description, I know that these kinds of nursery-schools were established during the time of World War II. These children were in there because their mothers were conscripted into unfamiliar duties. I think the yellowish color shows the hope in their life. This relates to the second chapter of Marx’s Communist Manifesto, PROLETARIANS AND COMMUNISTS. At the end of this chapter, Marx mentioned ten rules which he thought are applicable for advanced countries. One of them is “Free education for all children in public schools.” I am very glad to see this situation happens even during the period of war.People still working on educating children because they are the hope of every development. This piece is about souls and hope.
I see two females in this piece. One is elder while the other one is younger. In this piece, the elder woman is reading a book as pointing by one finger. She is reading a story or teaching some new stuff to the young girl. The young girl looks serious and thinking carefully. The color of this piece is dark, but I see the light from above which I think is the sign of hope. This relates to Wollstonecraft’s idea. She mentions that “That a proper education; or, to speak with more precision, a well stored mind, would enable a woman to support a single life with dignity” (Chapter 2) in her book Vindication on the Rights of Women. She believes that treatments of females and males are not equal, and the solution is that women should receive proper education. The two females in the piece realize that, and they are working on changing the life. I think this piece is about souls and self-awareness.
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